Wat De Brouhaha?

100th post

 

After I finished writing, A Portrait of Success, I opted for the WordPress proofreader to scan my post before publishing. It underlined brouhaha in blue because it is a cliché. I didn’t know that, maybe I should have. How else would I have known about such a word if not from reading it a thousand times on the web? Brouhaha, even saying it sounds like a joke.

Okay, because I’m a junior at Grammar Police, because I laugh and laugh and laugh at the (autocorrect) spelling mistakes of friends, a cliché cannot be found on my blog ever! A passive sentence yes, a cliché, nooo!

I ran to my trusty friend, Google, and typed, synonyms for brouhaha1, while trying not to laugh. Here’s what I found and my comments.

babel

So, the Tower of Babel still haunts us  . . .

coil

Reminds me of snakes and snakes don’t brouhaha.

commotion

I go to YouTube and listen to Madonna, I’ve got the moves baby, you’ve got the motion, if we got together we’ll be causing a commotion. After reliving my youth, I decide I’m too adult for this synonym. Next please!

conturbation

No way! Even if it’s the last synonym on earth. Tufiakwa! It sounds like – – – – – – – – – – – -.

flutteration

I see. I see butterflies in flutteration. Come on, get real! Even MS Word flags this one and gives me flirtation, floatation, and literation as options.

hubbub

Has an “amazing” 165 synonyms including bobbery, charivari, feery-fary, and shivaree. I think I can write a poem!

jumpiness

Reminds me of sokugo2 in Cyprian Ekwensi’s Burning Grass. Nah, nah, not a good match.

kerfuffle

I think they made this one up. Someone shuffled into the office and to meet the quota, the editor wrote kerfuffle!

moil

Means to work hard. Just had to share, who knows when you might need to moil to write a post. Of course it’s archaic, but some of you are in your mid-eighties!

nerviness

Laughing gas will do that to you!

ruckus

Could have used this, but isn’t it a cliché as well?

tumultuation

Sounds like something they say from the pulpit in church.

turbidity

Water swirling round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round. Are you dizzy yet?

twitter

I read that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, plus a social media overreaction. What the brouhaha! Figures doesn’t it?

zealousness

The reason Sunday after Sunday I’m still here. Um, I’ll save this one in my brain, thanks!

 

My 100th post, how time flies! I couldn’t have made it without you, and that is no joke. Thank you for flying with me.

 

Take lemons, make life & jump for joy!

 

timi

 

 

 

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

1. Synonyms courtesy of Thesaurasize: http://thesaurasize.com/brouhaha

2. Sokugo: a wandering disease that causes one to undertake a restless journey at its onset. Described by Cyprain Ekwensi in his book, Burning Bush.

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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A Portrait of Success

 

abstract thought

Open, by Andre Agassi, has been lying on my makeshift mantelpiece bookshelf for over three years. Although I’d monitored the brouhaha that followed its release, the “convenient openness” of Agassi revealing that he’d lied to the Association of Tennis Professionals, ATP, about a failed drug test in which he tested positive for crystal meth, I bought the book because of the good reviews. Thereafter, life happened to me and it ended up in my to-be-read-one-day-I-hope pile.

After I stopped jogging because of a foot injury, I did not think that resuming and gaining momentum would test my resolve. Every day, my body lies to me, but experience tells me the truth—you’ve done this before, and you can do it again. Maybe that’s why the autobiography of a retired star tennis player calls my name.

I start reading in the evening and slip in my bookmark at midnight because my alarm is set for five. Later, I eat lunch with a fork in one hand and the book in the other. Someone asks what it’s about. “Passion, failure, triumph, love, identity,” and as an afterthought I add, “it’s about a former tennis player.” I find, as the New York Post’s praise for Open states, it is, “Much more than a drug confession—Agassi weaves a fascinating tale of professional tennis and personal adversity. . . . His tale shows that success is measured both on and off court.”

The book alerts me to the problems of young success and for one moment, I am wary of success, (the endless practice, to what end?), although I have been chasing it all my life. Neil Gaiman said, “The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success can be harder, because nobody warns you about them.1” Perhaps this is how Agassi felt after winning Wimbledon. He writes, “I feel, in fact, as if I’ve been let in on a dirty little secret: winning changes nothing.2

I could roll my eyes at Agassi and say, “Oh yeah? Hand over all your Grand Slam cheques please!” However, I think about everything I’ve ever wanted, worked hard for, and received or everything I’ve ever wanted that came easy for that matter. How long did the euphoria last? Some say success, is not a destination, but a moving target.

And so, I keep turning pages. I am an umpire in Agassi’s undulating journey, urging him to find his way, as if to reassure me that I too can find my way. Some stories are not ours alone. It is the reason we should not stop telling.

Agassi meets a restaurant manager, Frankie, who makes an impression on him. He arranges a nest egg to help Frankie lighten the burden of educating his kids. Agassi writes, “Helping Frankie provides more satisfaction and makes me feel more connected and alive and myself than anything that happens in 1996. I tell myself: Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting value or meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.”

Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, and many others, have committed huge sums to their private foundations and other charities. Why? Tax planning benefits and positive branding? Maybe. Maybe not. But, Tutankhamun and other Pharaohs may have reached the afterlife, and looked around in surprise because their treasures still lay in the pyramids of ancient Egypt, waiting for thieves to loot. The moral of the story? Spend your money on earth!

A common thread weaves through the interviews I’ve read of successful people in their twilight years. While success has conferred many advantages and brought satisfaction, greater fulfilment has come from investing in others.

As I return Open to the bookshelf, I am convinced of what I already instinctively know—this kind of success is not to be feared, it is to be understood.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

  1. Neil Gaiman: Keynote Address 2012, The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. http://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address-2012
  2. Agassi, Andre, Open, An Autobiography (New York: Vintage Books, 2009), 167.
  3. Ibid., 230.

Image Credit: Ty Carlson @CreationSwap: http://www.creationswap.com/media/1553

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bus 281

Bus 281

The bus driver did not look at me when I entered the bus. I spared him a glance as he sped away from the bus stop and grabbed a red pole to steady myself before I flopped into my seat.

“Sorry,” I apologized to the man on the window seat when I regained my balance and saw what my lipstick had done to his sleeve.

He shrugged and smiled.

Whenever we approached a bus stop, we lurched forward as the driver braked, and we fell backwards as he accelerated again. No one got on the bus.

At the intersection between Park and Jacob Street, a grey Toyota on the opposite lane anxious to beat the red light, navigated a left turn. But it was caught in the middle of the road, in the path of our angry bus. The bus driver brought the bus within scratching distance of the Toyota. The Toyota driver inched further left. The bus growled and heaved. I felt the faltering bravery of the Toyota driver. Chatter climbed a few decibels.

Vroom, vroom, vroom! The bus driver’s impatience bellowed from the engine.

“Go! Go! Go!” the passengers cheered and clapped, with necks extended.

The lights turned green, and the Toyota rolled into Jacob Street just as the bus charged forward. I fell back in my seat and began to breathe again.

Five hundred metres before my stop, I pressed the button. The buzz pierced the chatter and the display flashed, STOP, in the monitor overhead. Moments later, I stood and held a red pole to brace myself, but the driver rode past the bus stop.

The passenger sitting beside me called out, “Chauffeur!”

More passengers called, “Chauffeur!” and then chanted, “Chauffeur! Chauffeur! Chauffeur!” stamping their feet to match the two syllables in the word.

Eventually the driver swerved towards the kerb. Passengers rose and shambled to the door like zombies. The driver lowered the belly of the bus, and the door puffed before opening. Twilight had bowed to a moonless night, and we were in the middle of nowhere.

“The world is full of crazy people. Get out while you can,” called the driver.

My feet developed roots, and I watched all the passengers except the man I sat beside, file out of the bus. They wore pale blue tops and trousers. He nudged me, and we got off together.

The passengers in pale blue led the way. Their voices floated and filled the night. In the absence of buildings and street lamps, the tree branches were monsters looking on. Reprieve from the darkness came from a dim signpost where the passengers melted into the shadows. I read the sign, National Psychiatric Hospital, and we quickened our pace. His presence by my side, kept me from running. The next bus stop was still ahead.

The bus stop, a pole with a twisted metal sign, offered no protection from the night. I checked my phone. The battery was dead.

“Mine too,” he shrugged.

Darkness stretched time like fitted sheets that are too small. I stifled the urge to pee. The wind whistled through the leaves.

“Did you hear?”

“What?” I replied.

“I thought I heard my name,” he turned in a semi-circle.

“Me t . . . t . . .  too.”

We huddled closer. Then he started singing, “Love is like two dreamers dreamin the exact same dream . . .”

“Nightmoves, Michael Franks,” I mumbled.

“Marry me,” he whispered.

The leaves answered the wind, “Whooosh!” and fell to the ground.

But the wind whistled back in hot pursuit gathering leaves in its arms and spinning them round and round. Some leaves broke free and circled our feet. Something in the pit of my stomach churned.

The music begins and the titles fade in, starrin’ you and me. The hero is struggling to say that his lady is far away in her prison of wishes . . . ,” he continued singing.

Headlights appeared in the distance. I moved as far out to the edge of the road as I dared and waved.

“Marry me!” his voice was urgent.

The thing in my stomach grew. My chest rose and threatened to pop the buttons of my blouse. I darted to the middle of the road and waved my hands with all my might.

Two yellow eyes flashed twice, cutting through the darkness. The sound of the engine grew louder. I ran to the side just as the bus screeched to a stop, lowered her belly, and the doors swung open. I clambered in and willed the driver to read my eyes.

“Close the door!” I screamed.

“Aha, the world is full of crazy people, get in while you can,” he smiled and sped away.

I turned and watched the passenger singing and dancing as his pale blue form retreated into the darkness, then flopped into my seat. I closed my eyes and opened them when I started breathing through my nose again, grateful for street lamps. By now, the bus was ambling over the cobblestones of the deserted shopping district. I saw our reflection on the floor-to-ceiling windows and squinted to read the inscription on the side of the bus, Bus 281: Property of The National Psychiatric Hospital.

“Honey, just marry the idiot already. One of these days he’s gonna tire of the game and find someone else,” the bus driver caught my eye in the rearview mirror and winked.

I looked at his shirt, pale blue. I looked down at my blouse, pale blue. I fainted.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

——–

Michael Franks, Nightmoves, from the album, The Art of Tea.

Image credit: illustrations from Microsoft

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Picture Your Story

picture your story

Ever noticed how newspapers use photographs of public figures? If Obama scores a big one, we get smiling Obama, maybe with a fist pump. When the roof caves in, we get tight-lipped, greying, worry lines Obama. All underneath screaming headlines. If the paper has integrity, we are not disappointed with the text that follows, our minds having been conditioned for it. They say we see with our eyes and we see with our minds.

And yet after I left primary school, my books, whether novels or textbooks, were devoid of images except for academic (boring), charts, graphs, drawings, and photos illustrating the concept being taught, as if to say, now that you’ve mastered comprehension, you don’t need visual aids or we want you to concentrate, no mucking around!

The web changed everything. Of course, it had to since everyone became a (potential) content provider. The downside of information overload is digital ADD. Mixing text with pictures and videos means we might win the scramble for eight seconds of surfing attention. However, beyond this, I integrate photos with text because it breaks monotony and can say what words cannot, helping to build emotional connections. Moreover, we decipher meaning from images, adding to the reading experience.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it might not tell the whole story. Perhaps that’s why on the web, text continues to dominate information exchange and videos, which combine visuals and words, are on the rise.

Visual art and writing don’t exist on an aesthetic hierarchy that positions one above the other, because each is capable of things the other can’t do at all. Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating. – William S. Burroughs –

After writing an article, I hunt for images that complement it. During my search, I encounter photos that have nothing to do with the text, which haunt me and inspire me to manufacture a story, like this one.

Boy by Greyerbaby

The right story hasn’t come along for this image yet, but I can’t wait any longer. Let’s find the story together. You don’t need to be a writer, just human. Tell what the photo evokes in you. There is no right or wrong, because we see the sun at different times. Day for me may be night for you. You can write your headline (title) in sentence caps and/or a few lines of the story. Indulge me, please? I’ll start.

 

The Boy Who Stole Tomorrow

Truth did not have consequences when we were young, so we exchanged it freely as though playing Ping-Pong. Some days you won. Other days I won. We did not keep score but maintained equilibrium until she came. Then, you made me lose more than I should have.

————–

P.s. Like seriously? Of course there’s no prize, I’m not Oprah! Alright then, just comment on how multimedia content enhances online interaction. See? Told ya! The story option is easier 😉

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Photo credit: Photo credit: ©Lisa Runnels/www.pixabay.com (used with permission)

http://pixabay.com/en/boy-walking-teddy-bear-child-walk-447701/

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

For Coloured Girls Only? No, I think not . . .

 

Hair hair

I refused to get into the natural hair “debate” because, because, hmmm . . . , because, the fear of backlash for unnatural hair is the beginning of wisdom! Moreover, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, is still lying on my bookshelf unread. What can I add to the conversation biko?

My friend wears her hair natural. I wear weaves and extensions on top my relaxed bone-straight hair, but you figured that out already. When we meet,  she oohs over my hair-do and calls me, hot mama. I look at her kinky-do, and say, “You’re gonna kill someone today!” Then we share what we’re doing in our respective spheres to change the world, buying and selling in serious currency—ideas. We talk about the kids, our men, and all the things that went wrong in Grey’s Anatomy. In other words, we revel in our friendship.

I wish this were true with all my natural-hair friendships. With some of them, after “the sermon,” I want to say, “I am not less of an African woman for choosing Brazilian, Indian, Peruvian, or synthetic hair, and I have nothing to prove or disprove. Touch my hair and I’ll touch yours. Oya, let’s be friends who agree to disagree.” But I keep mum. If age has conferred any wisdom on me, it is this: choose your battles wisely; hair may fall or may grow, turn brown or turn grey, but relationships transcend it all.

Nkem Ivara captures some of my sentiments. I won’t reinvent the wheel, I will just hide behind her natural hair . . .

I read a post on one of the natural hair forums on Facebook yesterday. The lady posted some photos of her hair and claimed she had been natural for 36 months. Turns out she started transitioning in September 2012.

Now I realise Maths is not my strong suit but even I noticed the numbers didn’t add up. My first thought was to point out that she has actually been natural for just 24 not 36 months and I was going to say as much when I stopped myself. I stopped because I had visions of all the comments that would follow. Comments that would accuse of me of not being supportive of a fellow natural. Continue here . . .  

So, while I’m at it, I might as well share this: I am tired of this hair, hair, everywhere.

 

Take lemons, make life & jump for joy!

timi

 

 

 

Once Upon a Time

have a story to tell

We carry stories with us. As a child, my nanny told me that if I looked at the mirror at night, I would see ghosts. Then she shared ghost stories, which cemented fear in my heart. I would spend the next several years sleep walking into the bathroom at night with my right hand averting my face, my eyes, from ghosts floating on the mirror. The myth shattered at eighteen. But, every night since then, I pause at the mirror before I sleep. Stories can intervene in myriad ways.

Storytelling has been enjoying a public renaissance; it’s a buzzword that makes me smile. Consultants are teaching CEOs how to embed business data and technical information in a good story to keep audiences from yawning. Ha, I know what my next job should be!

 

abcs storytelling

 

So what have we discovered about storytelling that my great great great great grandmother didn’t know? That when we read, listen to, or watch the right stories our brains light up with cortisol, which focuses our attention, and oxytocin, which causes us to care and connect. That the right stories follow Gustav Freytag’s analysis of dramatic structure, aka, the dramatic arc.1

 

dramatic arc

 

Speaking on UCF’s On the Issues, author Chris Abani said, “Everything we need to know about ourselves is already contained in literature. Most of us writers today, we’re sort of clever plagiarists. If you think about[sic] in many ways, all of the holy books from the Bhagavad Gita to the Bible, have covered all the stories that need to be told.”2 It would seem there are no new plots just deviations from the originals.

Why then, since we know the science and art of storytelling, do we lean forward in our seats, with one hand frozen in the popcorn carton and lips parted in an O, the shape left by the straw we abandoned? Why do our hearts race as if Tom Cruise has ever died in a movie? Because a story is an unwritten promise by the storyteller that he’ll take you there and make you care, in the end.

 

leading actor never dies

 

If story mirrors life and life mirrors story, then our lives play out this way as well, scene after scene, chapter by chapter: a beginning, which comprises exposition and rising action, a middle where conflicts peak, and an ending with falling action and dénouement. Each story that captivates us leaves us wondering and longing and hoping that the end will be good, so we can interpret the omens of our lives favourably.

History is a compilation yesterday’s stories. The best stories from the past make me desire transcendence since my life is a search for my own story. If I find it, my storytelling becomes the vehicle to transport you into my world so you can experiment with the possibility that your world can shift to accommodate mine. Someone said that the test of a great story is what people remember about you when you stop talking. If you want me to learn something quickly, wrap it in a story.

——–

P.s. What do you remember? No, don’t reread, for crying aloud, this is not an exam just an experiment without compensation! Please comment on what you remember. Or never mind . . .

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

  1. Zak, Paul J. How Stories Change the Brain. The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_stories_change_brain, (accessed October 5, 2014).

 

  1. “On The Issue – Author Chris Abani,” YouTube video, 6:05, posted by “UCF,” January 27, 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Eg4XmK4k6A

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.